Jury deliberations to resume in loud music murder trial
(CNN) — Michael Dunn’s fate now rests with the jury.
Jury deliberations resume Thursday in the trial of the Florida man accused of shooting an unarmed teen following a dispute over loud music at a gas station in Jacksonville.
Dunn, 47, faces five charges, including a murder charge and three counts of attempted murder.
Prosecutors accuse him of opening fire on an SUV full of teenagers in November 2012, killing high school student Jordan Davis, 17.
In closing arguments Wednesday, prosecutors said inconsistencies between Dunn’s words and actions undermined his claim that he acted in self defense when he fatally shot the teen.
His lawyer countered that the state failed in its quest to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that his client was guilty. He pleaded with jurors to find him not guilty.
In testimony Tuesday, Dunn said he fired in self-defense after the teen threatened him with a gun.
“My intent was to stop the attack, not necessarily end a life,” he said. “It just worked out that way.”
‘There was no gun’
But Assistant State Attorney Erin Wolfson said Wednesday that Dunn’s claims don’t add up.
She noted that Dunn fired 10 shots at the SUV, three of them while the car was fleeing.
He never took cover — but instead opened his car door — even though he would later tell detectives that he had seen a weapon, she said.
“There was no gun,” Wolfson told jurors.
In addition, she said, he did not tell his fiancee, Rhonda Rouer, that he had seen a weapon until more than a month later.
Dunn also left the scene of the shooting, went back to a hotel where they were staying and walked his dog, she said.
And he returned the next day to his house — more than two hours away — all without calling 911, Wolfson said.
“This defendant didn’t tell anyone because he thought he had gotten away with murder,” she said, adding that Dunn had no idea that a witness had taken down his tag number.
Dunn has testified that he described the music to his fiancee as “rap crap.”
In the parking lot, as the music blared, “his blood started to boil; he didn’t like the music that was coming out of the car next to him; he got angrier and angrier,” Wolfson said.
Dunn rolled down his window and asked the youths to turn it down, which they did, but then turned it back up, Wolfson said.
“He got angry at the fact that a 17-year-old kid decided not to listen to him,” she said, adding that Dunn then pulled a 9 mm. gun out of his glove box and shot “systematically and methodically” at the SUV. “Nobody denied that Jordan was talking back. But this defendant took it upon himself to silence Jordan Davis forever.”
Dunn testified Tuesday that he saw Davis reach down and pick something up, and that he saw about “4 inches of a barrel” from a 12- or 20-gauge shotgun above the window.
‘You’re not going to kill me’
He muttered aloud to himself, “‘You’re not going to kill me, you son of a bitch,’” as he opened the glove compartment, grabbed his pistol, dropped the holster at his feet, chambered a round and began firing, he said.
Nine of the 10 rounds hit the car, three of them striking Davis, one of them cutting through his liver, his lung and his aorta.
Wolfson rejected Dunn’s assertion that he had been trying to de-escalate the situationand he feared for his life.
Defense lawyer Cory Strolla noted that no witnesses had accused Dunn of using any hate words and testified that his client had just come from a wedding, where his ex-wife said he had appeared to be in a good mood.
Strolla noted that the SUV departed the gas station after the shooting and was gone for three minutes before it returned, enough time for the youths to have dumped a gun.
Detectives did not search the area for days after the shooting, he said.
Strolla cited testimony from another passenger in the car with Davis who acknowledged that he may not have heard all the conversation between the two men.
‘You have reasonable doubt’
Witnesses testified that child locks on the SUV were engaged, and that Davis — who was seated in the rear — could not have gotten out of the back seat to threaten Dunn. But Strolla said the teen could simply have opened the door by putting his hand out the window, which was open.
“You havelack of evidence, conflicts of evidence and reasonable doubt,” he told the jurors.
On rebuttal, Assistant State Attorney John Guy appealed to the jurors’ “common sense.”
“That defendant didn’t shoot into a car full of kids to save his life,” he said. “He shot into it to preserve his pride. Period. That’s why we’re here.”
Though Davis may have had a big mouth, he had no weapon, Guy said. Though he acknowledged minor inconsistencies in witness accounts, he said that was to be expected. “It’s not like television,” he said. “In real life, there are inconsistencies.”
If Dunn is found guilty, he faces up to life in prison.
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